As we begin to plan for the summer holidays and start to consider whether to stay close to home or go abroad, many of us will have kids, partners and pets to take into consideration.
We may not be able to advise you on keeping your significant other happy or even tell you how to deal with kids on a long car journey but, we are experts in knowing and loving dogs. So we are here to help break down the steps of what you need to do to prepare for a dog-friendly holiday.
Before you go
Travelling abroad or Northern Ireland?
It’s always best to contact your vet at least a month before you’re heading abroad as your dog will need an Animal Health Certificate and also they’ll need to be vaccinated for rabies 21 days before travel.
They will also check they are up to date with any other vaccines and ensure their microchips have your current contact info. If you are travelling anywhere in the EU, it is required they have a rabies vaccination before travelling. This is also a good opportunity to check the general health and fitness of your dog to ensure they are in the best shape to travel with you.
If you are travelling to Northern Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway your pup will need tapeworm treatment. This will need to be administered between 5 days and 24 hours before you leave for your trip. Additionally, while it’s no longer 'required', we recommend flea and tick treatment before travelling to mainland Europe. You can also discuss this further with your own vet.
Pet passports are no longer valid for trips into the EU. You will now need a new Animal Health Certificate and you must have a new one for each journey made. You can get these from an official veterinarian and costs can vary from practice to practice. This will prove that your dog’s health is good and their vaccinations are up to date.
Now you know what’s required to travel and you’re ready to book. What’s next? Training of course!
Time to brush up on your training?
In preparation for walking in unfamiliar and new areas you should ensure their recall is excellent, or make sure you keep them on their lead if it’s not. This is so you can prevent any accidents when you come across creeks, cliffs or wildlife while you’re away.
It is also a good idea to get your dog used to car journeys if they aren’t already. If you are travelling a long distance they will need to sit still for prolonged periods of time without distracting the driver. We will get more into travelling with your pet shortly.
Lastly, you need to consider whether your dog is up for a holiday or would they prefer to stay home? If they are good with new places and adjusting to them then that’s great! You both would benefit from a holiday together. However, if you think your dog might get stressed, they may be better off staying at home where they are most comfortable.
So you have decided on a location and a date for your holiday and booked in the vet appointments beforehand. What else is there to consider?
Before you arrive at your destination, it is a great idea to have a list of dog-friendly places in the area. Find out what local bars, cafes and tourist attractions allow dogs so you have less to worry about and more time to enjoy your holiday with your pooch able to join in on the fun.
It is also recommended that you check the accommodation you are staying in is secure for dogs. If there is a garden, are there fences, gates or any open spots they could run from? If you know that you are staying on a main road or next to a car park, you will be more prepared and can keep your dog safe.
You should also find a local vet that you can contact in case of an emergency. Save their number and address so that it is easy to access if your dog was to fall ill or obtain an injury. Additionally, if you are travelling abroad, your dog may tapeworm treatment before returning to the UK, so they may need a trip to the vets there.
It is finally time to leave for your holiday and you may have a long car journey ahead of you. Make sure there are plenty of stops along the way to allow humans and dogs alike to stretch their legs and use the bathroom. It is important you take more frequent stops than you might if it was just adults as your dog may get restless and need a brief walk around. Stopping will also provide an opportunity for your dog to have a drink.
Make sure you have treats, toys and a portable water bowl accessible to you on the journey to keep your dog entertained and happy.
When you Arrive
You’ve made it! After a long journey with plenty of stops, you have arrived at your destination and it’s time for some relaxation and fun. There are still a few things to bear in mind, however.
Try and keep their routine the same as at home or as similar as possible. This should help limit any stress and give them a sense of normality. Similarly, with diet, make sure you have enough of their normal food for the entirety of the trip to avoid any upset stomachs or a rushed trip to the local supermarket.
Give them time to explore and get familiar with their temporary home before exploring the wider area. Provide them with a cosy spot within the accommodation and set them up with their bed, toys and familiar smelling items. This will help them feel secure.
As the holiday continues, make sure they have plenty of time to rest and sleep undisturbed so they don’t get overwhelmed or exhausted. If it is hot or you are out all day, make sure they have a shady, cool spot to rest so they don’t get heatstroke.
Finally, keep an eye on them throughout the journey and holiday. Look for signs of illness, stress or unfamiliar behaviour.
This may seem like a lot of information and can be overwhelming to look at at first but once broken down into smaller steps it is definitely manageable and shouldn’t put you off taking your pup with you! Taking your dog on holiday is a wonderful experience and will create lasting memories for all involved.